Because water is always better found in a bucket!
One of our anesthesiologists told us he was making dinner that night, claims he is a good cook and even cleans up after himself (and I believe him) but that his wife hates when he cooks. Says maybe she feels threatened (dubious, but possible.) Which sparked a conversation among the women present about husbands who not only don't cook, but seem to think dinner appears as if by magic. And for the one man, who was in the military for so long, making a meal a consideration is an alien concept. I do relate to that, however bad the food, not having to think about where the next meal was coming from made serving in the army a lot easier, quality of the food aside. What few cooking skills I had, atrophied badly during that time.
The guy, now retired from service, is not taking well to civilian life, especially not with a religious wife and slew of children. I can't tolerate him, in no small part due to the contemptuous attitude toward me. But I keep thinking about long term military service, and what it does to guys (maybe women, I have no data points there.) My brother was retired Air Force, and I saw the same phenomenon. It makes teenagers into men. Men of about 22 years. If they stay in until retirement, they seem to stay at about that level of emotional maturity and day-to-day practical coping. Grow up fast, then stop. Not all, but it is a discernible trait. Saw it in my brother. See it in this guy from work. Bonsai'd, apparently formed, but small.
When we are in our early 20s we are adults, baby-adults, just starting out. So much goes on for the next decade, when we have to occasionally go hungry because we didn't budget properly, or took too much cash out of the ATM, or bounced a check, or couldn't make rent and had to face a landlord who threatened to evict, or didn't have boots all winter - only soft cloth shoes that hurt our feet and let the snow in. Hard lessons, that we had to solve ourselves, and take the consequences until the next check came, or didn't. Getting fired, or quitting a job, and having to find another one. Being sick alone. Needing to make our own lives from scratch. Lessons, opportunities to grow and change and figure out what we are made of, what we are capable of. A lot happens between 22 and 50, really.
I was 26 when I joined, and only the reserves, and a medical unit, which is as far as can be from the core military as one can get and still be in, I'd already been coping for a long time. Oh, I went through basic training with other regular army recruits, ran and froze and lost sleep right along with them, for two months. But I was already complete as a person, that experience was fire testing. The younger women had a much harder time, mentally, than the older ones. We mostly had other plans, the Army was a means to an end. Education, income, whatever. The younger ones, not so much.
Six years later, I was out, and back on my own completely. Paid for about half of nursing school, helped pay the rent, got to meet a lot of people, including beloved D, and made me think differently about the world. Lots of important stuff that I'd already been working on, got hammered into a useful shape. If I'd gone in at 19, when my brother tried to recruit me, I didn't have anything thought through yet. No grist for the mill.
D made dinner this evening, wouldn't let me help. I withdrew, and all his hedging made me wonder if I was going to eat at all. Turned out delicious, and I was prepared to be glad and grateful for any charred old thing on the plate. I love that he takes on responsibility to feed us both. He's always been grateful for anything prepared for him, even my nuking a frozen burrito for him. I'm glad to be fed, and occasionally pampered. We don't take anything for granted.
Maybe a lot of men who marry early, to traditional women, similarly fail to develop parts of themselves, as their wives stunt themselves in other ways. Traps are always easy to get into.